The Hyundai Ioniq 6 First Drive: This Sporty Sedan Makes You Feel all the Electric Car Loveliness

Hyundai Ioniq 6 Sara Lacey. Photo: Vijay Rao
Hyundai Ioniq 6 Sara Lacey. Photo: Vijay Rao

Everyone is impressed the first time they drive an electric car.

It’s that simple. The instant power and massive torque is undeniable, and brings a smile to your face whenever you put the pedal to the floor. But just pretend for a minute that the dazzle wears off. What will make you happy when the electric power thrill is gone? Hyundai thinks they have the answer with their new Hyundai Ioniq 6. So, if you’re not looped in you may be wondering just what is the Ioniq 6?

I’m glad you asked.

Related: The Hyundai Ioniq 6 Electric Sedan: Modern Looks and Next-Gen Features

Hyundai Ioniq 6 Front Angle. Photo: Sara Lacey

Hyundai Ioniq 6 front angle. Photo: Sara Lacey

The All-New Hyundai Ioniq 6 is a Sedan

It’s tempting for automakers to lean into SUVs. To make them smallish, bigger, and biggest. The Ioniq 6 is a sedan maximizing all the potential electric cars have to offer. What does that mean? It means that a flat platform allows for a flat rear floor, making lots of room in the rear seat. It means that the center console can be open and spacious. It means the environment is quiet enough for a zen master. It means that there is a level of charging and capacity and budget for lots of types of drivers. It’s a flexible machine, even though it’s not an SUV

Related: Hyundai IONIQ 5 First Drive: A Pivotal Moment for Hyundai—and for Electric Cars 

Hyundai Ioniq 6 Rear Angle, Can You See Those Pixelated Lights? Photo: Sara Lacey

Hyundai Ioniq 6 rear angle, can you see those pixelated lights? Photo: Sara Lacey

Inspired by Nature. And … Gaming?

Hyundai says the Ioniq 6 is inspired by a river rock, and I believe them. The exterior is curved and sloped like a stone you just picked up from a creek. The flat grey paint job in the rain during my test drive highlighted this design cue. But the pixelated parking lights and tail lights screamed video games. These features did not work in opposition.

The front bumper has air vents that definitely highlight the fact that this is an electric car. These vents keep the car stable and allow the air to move over and around the car in the most efficient way possible. The Ioniq 6 currently is one of the most efficient electric cars available. for our engineers in the audience, that means it’s got a 0.22 coefficient of drag. For our non-engineers, that means Hyundai focuses on efficiency through the design as well as battery power, not on battery power alone.

Related: Electric Cars and Winter Driving: What You Should Know

Hyundai Ioniq 6 Dash. Photo: Sara Lacey

Hyundai Ioniq 6 dash. Photo: Sara Lacey

And the Ioniq 6 Starts at $41,600

That trim level is the SE and it is a standard-range rear-wheel drive, single motor electric car. It gets 240 miles of range. It’s enough for most people’s every-day driving needs. It’s got an ultra-fast charger, battery pre-heater (to optimize charging) and charge prep, heat pump, power trunk, power flush door handles, LED headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels, 12.3″ instrument cluster with navigation display, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, Bluelink Connected Car service, power driver’s seat, USB-C charge ports, dual climate control, and parking distance warning (going forward and also in reverse).

The SE also comes in two long-range versions: RWD and AWD. The RWD has a single motor, a range of around 361 miles and is priced at $45,500 The AWD long range has two motors, a 316 mile range and is priced at $49,000.

The SEL has all the SE features, and adds the following: 20-inch wheels, leatherette seats, dual color ambient lighting, auto-dimming rear view mirror with garage door opener, automatic up and down windows in the front, digital key, wireless phone charger, highway driving assist, forward collision assistance, and a blind-spot collision avoidance program that replaces the warning system in the SE. If you opt for the SEL, pricing starts at $47,700 for the single motor, rear-wheel drive setup. Range on this model is about 305 miles. The AWD model starts at $51,200 and has a range of about 270 miles.

The Limited has the SEL features and piles on some more goods. Hyundai adds a power sunroof, remote start, surround view monitor, blind-spot monitor, Bose audio system, power passenger seat, seat memory on the driver’s side and memory mirrors, heated and ventilated seats, heated steering wheel, vehicle to load second row outlet, parking collision assistance (front, rear, and side), and a feature Hyundai calls EV active sound design. Pricing starts at $52,600 for the rear-wheel drive single motor setup, and has 305 miles of range. The price starts $56,100 for the all-wheel drive dual motor setup, and you’ll get about 270 miles of range.

Another advantage of choosing this electric sedan versus its SUV sister, the Ioniq 5, which which it shares many features including VTL and fast charging capability? The price, which starts at about $4,000 less. The downside is that the Ioniq 6 (as well as the Ioniq 5) does not qualify for US federal tax incentives.

Hyundai Ioniq 6 Pixelated Brake Lights. Photo: Sara Lacey

Hyundai Ioniq 6 pixelated brake lights. Photo: Sara Lacey

Now That the Numbers are out of the Way, Let’s Discuss the Drive

I really enjoyed being a driver and a passenger in the Ioniq 6. I was impressed with how comfortable the Ioniq 6 was to be in. I felt the road, but it wasn’t jarring. I appreciated that the car was mindful of range and wanting to be efficient but didn’t do it at the expense of comfort. Potholes and speed bumps were managed nicely, but the suspension, steering and braking were also ready to race. Which is what an electric car needs to be because of all that torque and power. My teeth didn’t rattle, but I also managed tighter turns at higher speeds with confidence. I liked that!

Working In The Back Seat Of The Ioniq 6 Was Comfortable, Even With My Drive Partner'S Suitcase. Photo: Sara Lacey

Working in the back seat of the Ioniq 6 was comfortable, even with my drive partner’s suitcase. Photo: Sara Lacey

What else About the Hyundai Ioniq 6 Sticks with Me?

The front seats are comfortable and are willing and able to handle a long day behind the wheel. Hyundai has made all features in the center console flat, so if you need to park and get some work done, you can place your laptop there and it will sit flat.

But if you have to do your work in the car, no one will blame you for moving to the rear seat. The rear seat has a ton of leg room. But what’s more, Hyundai has cushioned the armrest on the door, and even the area of the door where you would lean or place your arm and elbow. Hyundai imagines it as a sofa. This is a nice place to sit while you charge your car.

Hyundai Ioniq 6 Smoothie Station. Photo: Sara Lacey

Hyundai Ioniq 6 smoothie station. Photo: Sara Lacey

The Ioniq 6 has the Ability to be a Power Source for Appliances

This is called Vehicle To Load charging, or VTL. You may have seen this concept before, electric cars charging houses, lights, and more. Hyundai showed this capability off by making smoothies with the Ioniq 6, and powering a cool neon light. This was a nifty feature of the Ioniq 6, you can use it to power your crock pot at the next tailgate event or family potluck. That said, I did not get to test it myself to see how it works. There is also an outlet in the back seat of the Ioniq 6 Limited.


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Since we’re Talking About Power, let’s Discuss Charging

Before we get started, bear in mind that all these numbers are estimates and your driving style, use of different modes and regeneration options, wheel size, and whether you choose the rear-wheel drive/dual motor will impact those estimates. Also, you’ll want to figure in how “fast” your charging source is. That’s what the kilowatts number is.

The best-case, most-power scenario is with ultra-fast DC charging with 250 kilowatts. This situation will get you from 10-80% charge in 18 minutes. If your DC charging has 150 kilowatts, you can charge the Ioniq 6 in 25 minutes. Be mindful too, that you can be at a fast charger, but it may only charge at 50 kilowatts, so that will take 61 minutes.

A cool charging feature of the Ioniq 6 is that it will front-load the charging so that if you have a limited amount of time, it will set the battery to accept more of the charge at the beginning. So, in five minutes you can get 61 miles at that ultra-fast DC charger with 250 kilowatts. You’ll get 46 miles in 5 minutes with the 150 kilowatt charger.

Level 2 charging (a 240v outlet, like what you would use at home for a clothes dryer) will get you from 10-80% in 7 hours, 10 minutes, or overnight.

Hyundai Ioniq 6 Flat Top Console And Open Bin For A Purse. Photo: Sara Lacey

Hyundai Ioniq 6 wireless charge pad, flat top console and open bin for a purse. Photo: Sara Lacey

Life in the Car is Pretty Easy with the Ioniq 6

The menus and maps in the multimedia system were easy to use. And the digital instrument cluster is clean and clear. It shows speed, drive mode, charge level and more.

Drive modes are managed by a clearly marked button on the steering wheel. Then, even when you’re in a different drive mode, you can use the paddle shifters to adjust your regeneration. This slows the car and retrieves the power from slowing at different levels, so essentially it feels like you’re downshifting. But your adding power back to the battery. You can even go into one-pedal driving mode. So speeding up is done by depressing the accelerator and and slowing down is done by lifting up. No need to even move your foot to the brake. It’s neat to play around with and find what you like or need in any given driving situation.

The Ioniq 6 has features and speed that are fun and novel. And after those don’t feel so novel anymore, the car is comfortable and flexible enough to keep you happy long-term.

Disclosure: I was Hyundai’s guest to drive the Ioniq 6. Travel and accommodations were paid for, all impressions are my own

Sara has written about cars since 2005. She used to beat them up with her kids and write about... More about Sara Lacey